Will, Trust, or Designation?

February 1, 2022 by Richard J. Letocha, Esq., CFP®

Understanding the differences among legacy gifts

Johns Hopkins Senior Gift Planning Advisor Richard Letocha smiles and wears glasses, gray suit jacket, white shirt, and blue tie.
Richard Letocha is a senior gift planning advisor in the Johns Hopkins Office of Gift Planning.

If you wish to leave a legacy to Johns Hopkins, like many of our supporters, you may choose to do so through a will, revocable trust, or beneficiary designation. How are they different?

A will is a legal document that governs the collection and disposition of many of your assets after your death, including gifts to a nonprofit like Johns Hopkins.

A revocable trust, often called a “living trust,” is an estate planning tool that avoids the costs of probate, preserves privacy, and can simplify the transition of assets from your estate.

A beneficiary designation form is needed to identify recipients of certain financial accounts, such as retirement accounts. Neither a will nor a revocable trust governs the disposition of these accounts. Retirement accounts can be wonderful sources of legacy gifts to Johns Hopkins. They’re often simpler and less expensive to establish than legacy gifts made by a will or revocable trust, and they can offer tax advantages, too.

The Office of Gift Planning helps donors to Johns Hopkins who are considering a legacy gift. We can also work with you and your advisors to explore which options make the most sense for you and your wishes.

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Topics: Alumni, Faculty and Staff, Friends of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins